Posted 26 February 2009

Google Adwords Listings vs. Paid Google Maps Listings

Google Adwords Listings vs. Paid Google Maps Listings

Everybody who knows what they are doing in the internet game knows that they have to test everything possible to optimise the performance of online marketing efforts. You try everything from split testing webpage copy to PPC ad copy to testing different keywords, etc. Basically you test everything you possibly can to get the best possible results.

With this testing mindset engrained in my brain I thought it would be a great idea to test the difference between a normal Google Adwords listing vs. a Google Adwords map listing and the results were unexpected.

The company I was testing this on is a local business offering a fairly expensive B2C non consumable household product, so every lead is worth a few thousand pounds up. This company deals with 90% of its initial leads over the phone and a call tracking solution was essential in tracking the number of calls generated from each campaign.

Initial Thoughts:

Before I started the test I thought the map listing would bring in a few leads, far fewer than the rest of the PPC listings, which would be of a similar quality to the other PPC listings. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The Facts and Results:

There were 7 ad groups running in the clients Google Adwords account generating 1097 clicks in total, of which 35 came from the Google Maps listing. Only one of the ad groups had a Google Maps listing enabled, so this low traffic could be expected. So in terms of clicks the Google Maps listing generated far fewer visitors, but this is where the call tracking data comes in.

Although the Google Maps listing only accounted for 3.19% of all the visitors from PPC, it generated 29.4% of all the phone calls through the website. The visitor to phone call conversion rate for the Google Maps listing was an astonishing 28.57% compared to the normal PPC listings, which was only 2.26%. It is amazing to see such a huge difference between the two, but the differences don’t stop there!

The average cost per click for the normal PPC listings was £0.79, but the average cost per click for the Google Maps listing was much less at £0.53 per click. That means that the Google Maps listing costs a whopping 32.9% less per click compared to a normal PPC listing and it has a visitor to phone call conversion rate which is 12.64 times higher than the normal PPC listings.

And if that wasn’t enough, it gets even better! AdInsight showed that on average the quality of each of the phone calls from the Google Maps listing was much higher than that of the normal PPC listing. In AdInsight the quality of the phone call can be loosely correlated to the length of the call. For this particular business there is a very strong correlation, but this is not the case for all businesses. So in this case a longer call correlates to a more interested caller and to a call where there is an exchange of details (the goal), whereas a shorter call usually correlates to an uninterested user, for whatever reason. For this client the average talk time for calls generated from the Google Maps listing was 156 seconds (just under 3 minutes), but the average talk time for calls generated from a normal PPC listing was a mere 68 seconds (just over a minute).

Conclusion:

Although Google Maps PPC listings generate far fewer impressions and click throughs, they yield a much higher conversion rate and deliver a much higher quality visitor compared to normal PPC listings. This same test would need to be conducted for several different businesses before it could be considered conclusive, but this case presents extremely compelling data. I feel that the fact that this business is local had a huge effect on the results and that a more national business would not be able to reproduce these results or even come close to them.

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